Hasten PALECO GM selection, NEA urged

(File photo)

The Palawan Electric Cooperative (PALECO) has called on the National Electrification Administration (NEA) to speed up the selection process for the new general manager (GM) of the power cooperative.

Jeffrey Tan-Endriga, chairman of the board of directors (BOD) of PALECO, said they are expecting the NEA to recommend someone from the three candidates who applied for the post by January 2019.

The three candidates for the GM position are Cesar Joseph R. Baloloy, Engr. Alladin P. Cruz and Gonzalo G. Ong, Jr. who are all from Palawan.

“As far as we know, tapos na sila sa mga test, hinihintay na lang ‘yong result (… they are done with the tests, we are just waiting for the result). We are hoping by next month lumabas ito at maibigay na sa atin ang resulta para makapag-appoint na tayo ng permanent GM (… the result will come out and will be given to us so we could appoint a permanent GM),” Endriga said Friday night in a media yearend get together.

He added NEA administrator Edgardo Masosong said the appointment of Engr. Nelson Lalas as project supervisor and acting general manager of PALECO is only temporary or while the selection process is ongoing.

The decision of NEA to designate Lalas as acting GM of the power firm “is not a sign of taking over to rule and manage the electric cooperative, he pointed out.

“In my own opinion, hindi pa takeover ito. Hindi naman takeover ‘to. Actually, December 21 natanggap namin ‘yong soft copy ng order na meron dini-designate na certain GM, Engr. Nelson Lalas. Kinabukasan nag-usap kami ni administrator Masongsong, ang sabi niya this is just temporary… while waiting for the permanent GM,” Endriga said.

(In my own opinion, this is not yet a takeover. It’s not a takeover. Actually, on December 21 we received the soft copy of the order that says a certain GM was designated, Engr. Nelson Lalas. The next day, administrator Masongsong and I talked and he said this is just temporary… while waiting for the permanent GM.)

Endriga explained if it is a takeover, the board of directors including himself, would have been removed and a permanent manager would have been installed.

He stated the NEA has no basis to take over the electric cooperative since it is categorized as Double-A Mega or second to the highest and is performing well.

Endriga admitted there is resistance on the part of the PALECO board of directors in accepting Lalas as acting general manager and project supervisor, but he said he will be welcomed with respect when he comes.

He said the PALECO BOD has submitted its position paper to the NEA expressing its opposition to the designation of Lalas.

“Medyo meron kaming resistance sa pagtanggap sa appoint… ang sabi nga namin, huwag naman sana sabihin na masama ugali namin pero hintayin na lang natin siya dumating sa opisina at rerespetuhin natin siya bilang tao,” Endriga said.

(We have some kind of resistance in accepting his appointment… we said we hope they will not misconstrue our feelings or say we have bad attitudes but let’s wait for him to get to the office and we will respect him as a person.)

He added that the electric cooperative will set a timeline when Lalas can sit as acting general manager.

He is confident that the Association of Philippine Electric Cooperatives (APEC) and Philippine Rural Electric Cooperatives Association (PHILRECA) will support PALECO.

To declare that PALECO is “an ailing cooperative is unconstitutional and is not according to Republic Act 10531 or National Electrification Administration Reform Act of 2013, he said.

He stated further that the financial status of the electric cooperative is “100 percent stable and the system loss of PALECO is around the single digit.”

The power coop, he explained, failed to fix the “technical problems” as fast as it wanted because of the delay in the approval of their capital expense (CAPEX) by the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC).

During the visit of President Rodrigo Duterte on November 10, he slammed PALECO because of the frequent power outages hitting Palawan

He threatened PALECO that the government will take over the management of the electric cooperative and this will be given to other interested companies or private power producers.

Endriga said Duterte might be misinformed on the matter as it was only relayed to him by a regular member-consumer-owner of PALECO who is not knowledgeable about the root cause of the power problem.

“I think misinformed ang ating Pangulo kasi unang-una ang nagbigay ng komento sa kanya is just a regular member-consumer-owner. Hindi niya alam kung ano ang puno’t dulo, ‘yong function ng bawat sector (I think our President is misinformed because, first and foremost, the one who gave him the comment is just a regular member-consumer-owner. He doesn’t know what is the beginning and the end, the function of each sector),” he said.

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